Sunny San Diego. Land of amazing food, rich culture, and an endless sea of merciless love.
For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you may already know I spent the new year in this beautiful, lively city. Getting too close to sea lions, chasing sunsets, and walking more than I thought I was capable of.
I do wish I could have taken you with me. Each of my fellow dreamers, creators, alchemists, magicians, and genuine life lovers. This is my attempt at doing just that.
Full disclaimer: It has been 4 months since I went on this trip and I had started this post after getting back. Only problem, I didn’t finish it. That being said, I will do my best to recollect everything that happened in the proper order of events.
So, without further ado…
My brother was moving. The time finally came for him to fly the coop, and none of us could be more excited. Him, excited to be somewhere without snow and harsh cold as we have here in Michigan. My mother and I excited because he was about to start a new chapter, unfolding his dreams.
We decided to leave a day early, seeing as mom and I were able to get the day off. My brother worked until 2pm and immediately came home to pack his surprisingly spacious car with the essentials. Pancakes were on the breakfast menu, drizzled with excitement and last minute to-do lists.
By 6pm, we were out the door and on our way to the West Coast. I hunkered into the backseat while my brother took the wheel. The only concern in this bubble of joy and wonder was of my own for the cats at home. “Will they be well fed? Will Freyja be okay without our morning cuddles while I drink my latte and get work done? What about Cat? She always sleeps by me at night.” Deep down, I knew they would be alright. They are cats after all, independent from birth and I raised them well. Besides, they enjoyed the company of a trusted sitter.
The tires spun on into the late night, past the state border and into Ohio. I was glad it was dark while we passed through there. I was never a fan of the lack of scenery.
While reading was out of the question until the sun made his return, I busied myself with writing poetry, meditating, and creating content for Life Alchemy and my Instagram. My mother slept, as she knew her shift was up next.
I must hand it to them. They did a phenomenal job getting us to California. I wasn’t allowed to drive, seeing as I broke my glasses and had no contacts (“but mom, I can see shapes and colors just fine! I won’t go faster than the person in front of me, either! I can drive, I swear!”). Mom and Ryan switched off driving for 40 straight hours, stopping only for gas and bathroom breaks. I have never seen such determination and will power in my life.
Only 40 hours from our departure, and a day and a half earlier than expected, we arrived in California. I stared in awe at the palm trees and sandy landscape, as I have never seen such beautiful expressions of nature before. Mom began searching for hotels so we would have a place to stay before our reservation began at the Hilton on New Years day.
Her friend was nice enough to offer her travel points to book us a hotel. She even offered some financial support so we would be able to enjoy our time in the sunshine state. I am beyond grateful for all she was done for us and for enabling us to freely enjoy quality family time.
It was around 9am when we made our way into San Diego. We first visited my brothers new home, so he could unload his car. Next, now with his roommate, we made our way to La Jolla Cove where my mother and I would be staying at an Inn.
The usual routine commenced. Unload, unpack, freshen up, and most importantly: find a place to eat.
A long, increasingly hungry hour passed before a restaurant was settled on. It can be difficult, being vegan, finding a place where everyone is willing to dine in. Part of the problem was simply that we were all exhausted from living in a car the past two days with no real rest. We all slept long and deep that night.
It was finally settled that we would check out Trilogy Sanctuary, a vegan restaurant, metaphysical shop, and yoga studio. It was the cutest business I have ever seen in my life. My love for this place ran deep the moment I set foot in the elevator. This gem was nestled on the fourth floor rooftop of a holistic wellness center, complete with bohemian couches, a space for aerial yoga, and a menu any adventurous, whole-food vegan would find drool worthy. This would not be my last time visiting.
With our bellies full we went on our merry way to explore the surrounding area and visit the sea lions by the ocean. It wouldn’t be until the following days that the real fun began.
Ah, mornings. A time to start fresh and begin the day on a positive, energizing note. A long night was laid out ahead of us, being New Years Eve. Yoga, meditation, HIIT, and ample hydration were essential in my eyes the moment my feet hit the floor.
After showers and a fresh set of clothes, mom and I decided to start the day with a healthy breakfast and latte’s. My brother would be joining us much later in the day, since he stayed at his new home for the night and needed more sleep than my mother and myself combined.
Not 3 minutes from where we were staying, Paradise was waiting for us. Paradise Café, that is. This quaint coffeehouse was full of character… and superfoods (ashwaghanda, turmeric, ginger, reishi, lavender honey and oat milk latte anyone???)
We tried every latte there was on the menu and enjoyed every last drop. Our favorites were Moon Magic (minus the collagen to make vegan) and the Mayan Latte.
Once the lattes were consumed and our bodies nourished with herbs, the bellies began to rumble. It isn’t a difficult task to find food in San Diego. Even where we were staying, we had at least 5 places within walking distance. My heart was still loyal to Trilogy, where I was blessed to enjoy the most amazing gluten free crepes. Every bite was a dance of flavor and texture, harmonizing with rich energetic undertones and a satisfying crunch, all amplified by the sheer appearance of this majesty.
Mom found breakfast at another location. Tree nuts have never been too kind to her, so Trilogy was far out of the question. We enjoyed breakfast back at the hotel, enjoying peace and quiet before the day truly began.
Yoga has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My mother use to put videos on the living room TV to follow along with, and I found it fun to join her (mainly because I loved to show off my childhood flexibility). We would go to classes together from time to time, but eventually she gave up yoga for pilates. Fortunately, the ancient practice followed me.
Yoga has helped me tremendously in staying flexible, strong, grounded, and centered throughout the years. It teaches patience and the importance of tuning inwards, listening to the body and observing the mind.
Mother was looking to get her hair done after breakfast, but my body longed to keep moving. Exploring Trilogy’s website, I came to find out an aerial yoga class had one spot left! I had never done aerial yoga prior, but the thought of spinning from the ceiling wrapped in silk excited me.
The class was incredible. I had never felt so held or supported in my life until I was in the air, completely inverted, and spinning in circles. I also found it made it much easier to deepen my yoga practice and stretch further in ways I was previously unable to with just practicing on the ground. I often experience knee issues when doing yoga and had no problems with aerial! If you ever have the chance to take an aerial yoga class, I highly recommend it. It is something I most definitely will be doing again.
The Sea Lions
After enjoying a post-yoga Acai bowl (because would I really be in Cali if I didn’t have at least one?) mom and I decided to go for a walk by the ocean. We were able to see some of it the day we arrived, but it was in passing. I wanted the full experience of what this massive body of water had to offer.
The thing that first struck me came as a surprise: the smell. One would expect what poets and songwriters illustrate with such passion that you can almost taste the salt of the sea and the glimmering golden sunlight – but this was something else entirely. Instead, my nose was filled with the disharmonious symphony of sea lions.
Imagine a petting zoo. Think of the smell. It was that.
The initial shock didn’t last long, as it was a smell-before-you-see situation. Once we got closer and could see this silly creatures roaming about lazily on sunlit rocks, babies fighting for their sleeping mothers attention, the shock was quickly replaced with delight.
See the picture of the Sea Lion with its head in the air? It threw up after that picture.
I’ll be honest, the rest of the days in California seemed to blur together. Moving into the New Years, I spent time with my mom and brother at the house my brother would now be living in. I fell asleep very early on and wasn’t in much of a celebration mood after being in a car for 3 days straight.
The rest of the trip was a culmination of tourist traps, really good food, buying new glasses (mine broke), and conflicted emotions. In the spirit of fitting your interests, I categorized the main bits of my experience for you to choose from.
Out of the few beaches I went to, there was one that really stuck out to me. There is a huge cliff where people will go to watch people parasail over the water and land on the beach below during sunset. On the day before my last in San Diego, my brother took my mom and I there to watch the sky change colors. I, being a mermaid at heart, wanted to get closer to the water. To get down there, one has to walk very dangerous and rickety rocks with beaten wood stairs to get to the beach. How far down was it? I have no idea. All I know is it took at least 10 minutes to reach the bottom, and another 30 to get back up (not including breaks).
Before going here, my brother had mentioned that San Diego I known for nude beaches. There are several in the area where people go and live free, one with nature in the clothes their mamas gave them. Well, I didn’t really connect the dots until I was watching the waves roll gracefully onto the shoreline when suddenly my view is obstructed by several men strolling by and enjoying some airtime (and I don’t mean the parasailers).
I was taken aback at first, seeing as I came to watch the sunset and found myself in an entirely different show. It didn’t take long for the initial shock to pass though as I began thinking about the beauty of being able to strip away societal norms and boundaries, finding full security and comfort in ones own skin.
It is easy to get trapped in the expectations and norms imposed by media. To look a certain way, act a certain way, and be someone who fits into a box of socially acceptable. Bodies are often hypersexualized, demonized, and looked down upon negatively unless in the privacy of a bedroom. Here were people who could not care less what the media or peers had to say. Here were people who have decided to be fully there, nothing to hide, vulnerable in their own bodies and remaining strong.
I, personally, did not join in on the quiet, peaceful “F-you” to society that I had worked up inside myself, seeing as my mother and brother could see me from the top of a cliff, but I was still deeply humbled and moved by the experience and glad to have stumbled upon a beach of “nude doods.”
I believe these pictures speak for themselves. Also, shoutout to Under Belly for serving the most amazing ramen (they have vegan!) I have had in my life.
This part of the trip inspired many conflicted feelings. Most of which are summed up in this video here:
I didn’t take too many pictures while I was there, preferring to just observe from a distance. I did still get a picture of giraffes for my cousin and a small bear enclosure.
Last day in San Diego was filled with synchronicities. The trip itself seemed to be a deep reminder to stay true to the self in the New Year, and to fearlessly step into the power held within. How?
California is a place where people are free to be whoever they wish to be. People on the streets are all unique in their expression, encouraged to live healthy and to the fullest. Rarely did I see someone living in San Diego who didn’t have glowing skin and a yoga mat on their back.
Though the clothes they wore, hobbies they delighted in, and superfood lattes they drank were all physical expressions and had little to do with the souls moving past, I couldn’t help but feel California is a place where people go when they wish to be their best selves. The place was practically designed to turn life into paradise and work into play, though it may not always work out that way. California itself has its own trouble with drought, over-farming, pesticides, and rising temperatures from a very broken agricultural industry – but we won’t get into that today.
The point is, while I was there, it really got me to thinking about my own dreams and desires, the person I wish to be, and what it is I would like to contribute to the world. It reinvigorated me and gave me a newfound sense of hope and purpose within myself. It gave me the extra boost of courage I needed to step into my own full power. Funny, I am just now finishing up this post during a time when I am fully embracing just that very thing.
The whole trip was filled with angel numbers, signs of spiritual encouragement, and moments that allowed me to look at my own soul and see where I was lacking. If you ever have the opportunity to go to California, I recommend it. Maybe not to live, but the visit can be moving in many ways.
To follow the full trip, check out my “Cali” highlights on Instagram.